The list of the best current NBA defenders is unimaginable without Jrue Holiday. The Bucks‘ guard is probably the best defender at the guard position in the league, proving it for a couple of years now. His addition to the Bucks is a significant reason why the expectations are high for Mike Budenholzer‘s team this season.
Holiday got a first-team All-Defensive selection in the 2017-18 season when he was playing for the New Orleans Pelicans, and he got selected to the second team the year after. And when he’s combining his great defensive performances with productive offensive displays, then Jrue is for sure one of the best all-around guards in the NBA. In this season, Jrue is averaging 17.7 points per game on 50.3% shooting from the field. He also grabs 4.6 rebounds and dishes out 5.9 dimes per game.
He can be a volume scorer, but at the moment, he doesn’t need to be. Instead, he has to give it his all on the defensive end against the best guards in the league. And one of them is Steph Curry, a guy who is terrorizing other players. Holiday explained the tactics behind guarding Curry.
“What’s hard about Steph is that he’s super-quick and shifty. We know how he can get that shot of. So for me the game against him becomes like a long distance track meet where one of us is going to get tired and it’s not going to be me first. We already know that I’m staying with Steph no matter what. If I get hit by I screen, then I fight throught the screen, over the top or underneath. But, most of the time over the top because I can stay closer to him and possibly run him of the three-point line. I’m stronger than him so I try to be phisical with him and I dont want to give him any room to get comfortable. I don’t know the exact metrics, but for us to win the game he’s going to have to fight”, Jrue said.Jrue Holiday, via Bleacher Report
Jrue is nowhere near to Steph Curry’s level of offensive input, but Jrue is a tough match-up for anyone. And Curry himself underlined Holiday as one of the toughest defenders in the league.
“Jrue Holiday, Avery Bradley, Tony Allen when he was in the league. There are guys that have a knack for being in the right place in the right time, being physical, studying your game, and knowing your moves. Never in my mind are you scared that they’re going to stop you. But at the same time, you gotta go harder that particular night or play a little smarter. Maybe like Pat Bev and the antics, you’ve gotta deal with that. But I think those guys exist and they get paid to defend the best guys in the league”, Curry admitted recently.Steph Curry, via DubsTalk
Jrue and Curry are two very different players with different roles in their teams. But the respect is there, and when those two meet, it’s always fun to watch – Curry on the offensive end and Jrue trying to stop him from doing his thing.